Mouth of the Licking
River, Campbell County, Kentucky
Clark & Family
& Campbell Counties, Kentucky
written & contributed by Stanley
Clark, thanks Stan!
Please contact Stan if you can add to his excellent compilation,
Among the most
prominent pioneer citizens of Falmouth, Pendleton County,
Kentucky was William Clark. He was the brother of Governor James
Clark, and the first lawyer to serve the Falmouth area. William
was the son of Robert Clark and Susannah Henderson Clark, and
was born about 1776 in Bedford County, Virginia near the
celebrated Peaks of Otter.
Early in the 1790s, he
migrated with his family from Virginia to Kentucky, where they
settled near the Kentucky River, adjacent to the present city of
Winchester in Clark County. Like his father and brothers,
William was given the great advantage of full schooling at a
young age, and became a person of great means and substance.
Upholding a family tradition that dated far back into time, he
opted for the field of law as an occupation.
In the initial stage of
his law career, he served the Commonwealth of Kentucky and the
judiciary of the United States as the District Attorney for the
U.S. District Court of Kentucky from 1796 to 1800 in Covington,
Kentucky. Just prior to this employment, he became aware of and
highly interested in the neighboring town of Falmouth, which had
been only recently established on the Licking River in what is
present day Pendleton County. Sometime before 1795, he purchased
a lot in that attractive pioneer community, with eyes and heart
on a promising future there.
In 1800, when the
infant U. S. Judiciary System expanded and changed its table of
organization, William concluded it was time for him to devote
his efforts to a private law practice. Convinced that Falmouth
held great potential for a young man and up-starting lawyer, he
selected that beautiful planned community in the bend of the
Licking River to "hang out his shingle."
Around 1801, William
and his recent bride Catharine settled in Falmouth and
established a household that afforded the base for great
expectations. In addition to his law practice as a means of
livelihood, William began purchasing lots in town and property
in neighboring counties as an investment. Catharine, who came
into the marriage with great means of her own, also made
personal investment in real estate within the town. Included in
the many lots they purchased, was a choice lot on the town
square. We can speculate this lot is where William placed his
office. With immediate acceptance and promotion by the
community, William prospered and grew into prominence.
During this great era of his life, the family also grew in
numbers, and the household was always supported by about a half
dozen slaves of mixed gender.
Between 1800 and about
1825, the Clark household was blessed with the addition of
twelve children - six girls and six boys. The girls were given
the names of Mary/Polly, Susan/Susannah, Elizabeth, Catharine,
Agnes, and Missouri. The boys were named James, Robert Austin,
Alfred, William Anthony, Nicholas, and John. Following family
tradition, these offspring of William and Catharine Clark were
named after previous family members and a few greatly admired
associates. Elizabeth and Catharine were very likely twins.
Before the middle of the century, these family members will
follow another ancient Clark trait, by scattering themselves
across the frontiers of the United States.
William's decision to
establish a law practice in Falmouth was very wise. He was
readily initiated into the inner circles of the pioneer settlers
and community leaders of the town and surrounding areas. In
addition to the successful private law practice he brought to
the young and growing town, he was immediately placed into the
position of a highly regarded community leader. During the first
three years of his residence, he was appointed a town trustee,
road surveyor, commissioner, and a member of a company of county
patrollers. Court records also contain various documents showing
his interest in the establishment of a model town, and the
welfare of its citizens.
Outstanding among his
contributions to Falmouth and Pendleton County, was the major
role he played in the establishment of a viable judiciary system
for the area. In addition to his private law practice, he also
served at times as the attorney for the commonwealth during
court sessions. He played a very important role in the formation
and supervision of the clerk's office, and was once appointed a
deputy clerk as a means of getting the office established on a
solid foundation. At various other times he served on a
commission to examine and report on the clerk's office.
Most likely the
greatest monument to the trust the community held in regards to
his outstanding judiciary and administrative abilities, was the
role he played in the introduction and building of the county's
first public owned courthouse. The builders of the structure
were directed to contract with William for the undertaking, and
he served and played a vital role within the commission
established to build this early seat of county government.
The well established
life of the Clark family in early Falmouth became threatened
about twelve years after their move into the community. England
and the United States became involved in another conflict - The
War of 1812. Pendleton County was just beginning to enjoy a
feeling of physical security from the ravages of a previous war,
when once again the western frontier would be drenched with
blood of pioneer settlers. In response to the respect of his
fellow citizens and the high regard they placed in his
abilities, William was issued a commission in the Kentucky
Volunteer Militia unit formed by men from the Falmouth area of
Pendleton County. This unit was called into active federal
service during the several years that homes of its members were
on the edge of heated warfare north of the Ohio River.
During his military
service in this "Second War of Independence,"
William served on active duty as an Ensign (third officer) in
Captain Thomas Martin's Company, which was a unit in Colonel
William Montjoy's Regiment of Kentucky Volunteer Militia. Based
on records and documents related to activity within the unit, it
appears that he held down the position of the company adjutant -
keeping records, writing and issuing discharge certificates,
etc. As a lawyer and administrator, these functions placed him
in an ideal position for the job.
Sometime following the
war and before 1820, William moved his family to a new home on
the high ground beside the Licking River in neighboring Campbell
County. The site of this new residence can be pinpointed today
in the northwest corner of the Grants Lick Precinct, just
off the Pond Creek Road - above its intersection with the
Harrisburg Road. In 1820, this site would have been just off the
road that connected Newport with Wilmington. William owned other
property in Campbell County and the city of Newport, and there
is evidence that the family moved to the Newport area between
1830 and 1834.
This move ended the
Clark family's union with Pendleton County. One has to wonder if
their departure was for the better of fortune? With it came a
dark veil that would shroud this family for generations to come,
and almost relegate it to the deepest pits of oblivion. Distance
apart, premature death, ruptured feelings, and a great civil war
would take a toll on the unity of brothers and sisters who were
born into the greatest of circumstances and promise.
As best that can be
determined at present, William Clark died in Campbell County
around 1834, at about 58 years old. His wife Catharine also died
in Campbell County around 1837, at about 61 years of age.
Son James died in
Campbell County around 1837. He was likely between 30 and 35
years old. No records have surfaced that indicate he ever
married Josias B. P. Bullock prior to 1836, and moved to
Missouri. She died on August 18, 1838 at about 34 years old, and
is buried beside her husband in Cass County, Missouri.
Son Robert Austin moved
to Claiborne County, Mississippi. He married twice while there,
then moved to Hinds County of that state, and established a
large plantation on the outskirts of present day city of
Jackson. He died on February 10, 1852 at age 48.
Son Alfred moved to
Claiborne County, Mississippi, where he established a plantation
on the outskirts of the town of Port Gibson, and also practiced
law. It has been reported that he married brother Robert's widow
in 1859 and died shortly after at about age 53.
married Jacob Stevens in Campbell County on June 15, 1835. She
died on September 23, 1851 at about age 41; leaving six children
in the care of family and friends in Campbell County, Kentucky.
Son William Anthony
moved to Handsboro (within present day Gulfport) in Harrison
County on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. He entered the Confederate
Army at age 50 and was severely wounded in the battle of
Vicksburg, Mississippi. He survived the war, but drowned in the
bayou near his home on December 27, 1867 at age 54.
born cir. 1815, married Squire Baker in Campbell County on March
29, 1836. They later made several moves, but settled in Tazwell
County, Illinois. They are reported to have had at least nine
born cir. 1815, married Thomas C. Miles in Campbell County on
August 11, 1838. They settled in the Cold Spring area of
Campbell County, Kentucky, and are reported to have had at least
Son Nicholas, born cir.
1817, moved to Cuyahoga County, Ohio. Was married and had at
least one child. He died around 1845 at age 26 - 28.
Son John, born cir
1819, left Kentucky in 1838, married and moved to Jo Davies
County, Illinois, near the present day town of Elizabeth (within
the Galena area). He and wife Sarah had at least three children.
Daughter Agnes, born
cir. 1820, married David Mayhall in Campbell County on October
10, 1846. They settled in the town of Alexandria, Campbell
County, Kentucky. They had no children of their own, but adopted
one of sister Susan's orphaned children, and another child born
Daughter Missouri, born cir.
1825, married Peter Miles (brother of Thomas C. Miles) in
Campbell County on August 8, 1844. They settled in Newport,
Campbell County, Kentucky, and had at least two children.
It is only in recent years that
information on this family is starting to surface in picture
form. The above sketch of William Clark and Family in Pendleton
County is incomplete at this stage, as it awaits further
in-depth research. It is being offered at this time as one of
several steps currently being taken to rescue the family from
oblivion, and restore it back to its rightful place in history.
Stanley R. Clark
of William & Catharine Clark
to "Memory Lane"